Turaf of Ibn Tawus: A Mirror of Vicegerency and Caliphate

Juya Jahan-Bakhsh

The article is made up of a series of points, most of which are based on the works of Radi al-Din Abd al-Karim, Ibn Tawus (d.665/ ), especially his work Turafun min al-Anba Wal-Managib.

 1. Turaf is in fact a supplement to al-Taraif of Ibn Tawus, which is made up of a prologue, thirty-three turfahs, points, and an epilogue.

 2. As in al-Taraif, Ibn Tawus did not mention his name in Turaf, due mainly to political considerations of that time, hence he uesd a pen name; however, he later mentioned them in his list of works.

 3. Most of the Turfahs in Turaf are adopted from al-wasiyya of Isa b. Mustafad al-Bajali, a companion of Imam Musa al-Kazim.

 4. Despite the hadith contents of Turaf, it has a Kalam ‘theological’ structure.

 5. The theme, common to most of Turfahs, is that the heir and vicegerent of the Prophet is Imam Ali, not anyone else. Such materials of Turaf were politically and ideologically highly significant at that time.

 6. In some Turfahs the Prophet’s hadiths on Islamic beliefs and conduct, e.g. wudu are mentioned.

 7. Turaf is rich with historical pieces of information, hence useful for historians.

 8. Ancient people’s outlook of their world was indeed different from that of present-day researchers. The texts of hadiths have a sacred face where they have not been affected by mistakes, oblivion, and so on.

 The last point remarked is concerned with the contemplative and reflective thoughts of Ibn Tawus; these sufistic views in the world of Islam were later augmented and followed by such figures as Muhy al-Din b.  Arabi.

Key Words: Radi al-Din Abd al-Karim, Ibn Tawus, Turafun min al-Anba Wal-Managib, Hadith, Theological Structure.

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